Everything Your Fingernails Are (Silently) Telling You About Your Health

English novelist Ian McEwan once wrote, "You can tell a lot from a person's nails. When a life starts to unravel, they're among the first to go." While that may be a little dramatic, it is true that a person's fingernails can be a sign of what's happening elsewhere in his or her body - as you'll see in more detail on this list of what fingernails can tell you about your health.

First, here are some fun facts about your fingernails: They're largely made of keratin, a protein that also serves as a crucial component of skin and hair. Contrary to popular belief, the nails that we see are not alive at all. They're dead cells being pushed out by live ones growing under the skin. That's why it doesn't hurt to clip our nails; they're already dead. But because nails need blood flow to develop, and several nerve endings are located under the skin of the nails, they can be a sort of early warning system that something may not be right with the internal workings of our bodies.